McDaniels hopes revenge is sweet Saturday

When the Denver Broncos run out of the visitors tunnel at Gillette Stadium this weekend, they’ll notice a familiar face on the New England Patriots’ sideline.

Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels will be there as a part of the Patriots coaching staff. McDaniels, who served as the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011, was hired by New England for its playoff run following the departure of former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who left to become the Penn State head coach.

McDaniels’ history with Denver dates to 2009, when he got off to a blazing 6-0 start during his first season as the Broncos skipper. But after a bye week, it all went downhill from there. The Broncos lost eight of their final 10 games in 2009, missing the playoffs. In 2010, Denver started 3-9 and McDaniels was fired after Week 13.

McDaniels, who drafted Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, now has a unique chance to get revenge and knock the Broncos out of the playoffs. Here are some other notable playoff matchups featuring a coach against his former employer:

January 31, 1999: Super Bowl XXXIII

Dan Reeves coached the Broncos for 12 seasons, including three Super Bowl appearances. After a four-year stint with the New York Giants, Reeves took over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. In his second year in Atlanta, Reeves led the Falcons to the Super Bowl, where the Dirty Birds fell short against the Broncos, 34-19.

January 26, 2003: Super Bowl XXXVII

After coaching the Oakland Raiders for four seasons, including two AFC West titles, Jon Gruden left the Raiders to take over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year in Tampa Bay, Gruden led the Bucs to the Super Bowl, where he defeated his former team, 48-21.

January 4, 2004: NFC Wild Card Playoffs

Mike Holmgren guided the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons in Green Bay, including a victory in Super Bowl XXXI. But Holmgren left the Packers after the 1998 season to become the Seattle Seahawks head coach.

In the 2003 NFC Wild Card Playoffs, Al Harris intercepted Matt Hasselbeck in overtime and returned it 52 yards to give the Packers the victory. This came after Hasselbeck’s infamous comment upon winning the coin toss at the beginning of overtime, saying “We want the ball, and we’re going to score.”

January 11, 2004: NFC Divisional Playoffs

Andy Reid spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Packers before being hired as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach in 1999. In the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs, the Eagles beat the Packers thanks to some late-game heroics by David Akers, who kicked a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime and another one in the extra period for the win.